Homeowners, Inspect Your Deck to Avoid A Wreck

June 20, 2016

As we get closer to the 4th of July weekend and deeper into the summer, many homeowners are planning to invite their friends and family over to grill and relax on an outdoor deck.

But when is the last time that you inspected your deck? How long ago was it installed? According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, over 40 million decks in the US are over 20 years old.

Before you send out those Facebook invites, avoid potential hazards – inspect your deck to keep your friends and family safe.

  • Inspections should begin at the bottom of your deck.  If a deck seems unsafe or is sagging in any location, do not walk on the deck.
  • Inspect the connection between your deck and the building to ensure that it is secure.
  • Ensure that railing on the deck and stairways are properly supported and stable.
  • Check for water sources near your deck that could contribute to accelerated wood decay.  These can include the following:
    • Lawn sprinklers that regularly come into contact with your deck.
    • Indentations around your deck’s support beams where water may pool, especially in newly installed decks.
    • Downspouts from gutter systems that exit near your deck.
    • Narrow gaps in the deck’s floorboards that don’t allow water to pass through.
  • Make sure that none of the deck’s wood has decayed.  Keep in mind that layers of paint can hide decay.
  • Visually inspect the beams below your deck for signs of sagging.

If you have any concerns about the safety of your deck, refrain from using it and contact a licensed home inspector to perform a complete inspection.

A deck should be an area where you and your family can have relaxing experience. Following these tips will help ensure that everyone using it will have a safe and enjoyable time.

Always consult your homeowners’ insurance policy to make sure you have the protection you need.  If you have any questions, contact The Ross Maghan Agency at (732) 566-0003 for answers.

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